The educational system of the UAE. How to choose the school.


    One of the main questions for each family in Dubai is which school to choose for children and why.

    In this article we will talk about the educational system of the UAE in general and about English-speaking education in particular.

    As recognized by the world community, the UAE’s education system is among the top of the world. A unique educational system evolved from the centuries-old experience of developed countries, the eastern traditions of education and technical world progress.

    Education in the UAE for today corresponds to high world standards, diplomas of educational institutions are recognized throughout the world.

    Schools in the UAE are of two types: public and private. There are more than 1,100 of them.

    Before talking about the systems of school education, it should be noted that all of them include two years of pre-school education – the so-called KG1 and KG2 (KG-Kindergarden), in British schools it is foundation stage (FS1 and FS2). They take kids of 3-4 years old, and then, when they are 5-6 years old, they go to the 1st class.

    The most popular training programs in Dubai, or, as they are also called, “curriculum”, are the American curriculum, the British curriculum and the international curriculum. UK and US are trained accordingly to the national programs of the United Kingdom and the United States. IB (International Baccalaureate) is a program developed in Switzerland in 1968 specifically for international schools. Some schools offer mixed programs, such as UK / IB or US / IB. The choice of a curriculum depends on its reputation, and also on the further plans of the student – the country of residence, university education, and so on.

    Having studied, analyzed and decided on a certain curriculum, parents begin the most responsible phase – the choice of a specific school. And there is a wide choice.

    In Dubai, for example, about a dozen schools are taught by the US curriculum, plus there are several more, in the title of which there is the word “American” and which offer in their program only some elements of the US curriculum. The concept of teaching mixed schools can not be compared with the western one. There is an emphasis primarily on Islamic values and the Arabic language, and they are designed mostly for families from the UAE. The same situation develops with the numerous Indian schools offering UK curriculum, where you will hardly find the British born. There are significant cultural and religious differences between the educational institutions of Dubai which is of great importance.

    By the way, if you decide to change the curriculum, for example, from British to international, then it is better to do this until the fifth grade. Then the programs will be too different from each other.


    Another important criterion for choosing a particular school is the KHDA (Knowledge and Human Development Authority) rating, the government agency responsible for the development and quality of private education in Dubai. KHDA is a body that inspects and classifies all private educational institutions in the city: schools and universities. Almost all parents, before deciding which school to choose for the child, are following this famous rating, in which schools are divided into 6 categories (until 2016 there were only 4 categories).

    Outstanding (excellent), very good (very good), good (good), acceptable, weak, very weak.

    The object of inspections are the following parameters:

    -school management;
    -quality of teaching, learning and results in the form of assessments;
    -progress and achievement of students in key subjects;
    -compatibility of the training plan with the needs of the students;
    -the effectiveness of the institution as a whole.

    Both local and foreign inspectors take part in inspections, especially when it comes to IB curriculum, which is checked very strictly.

    After you decided what an educational institution to choose, we recommend to apply in advance, because the number of people wishing to get an education in the UAE is growing every year.